Cambodia Records 32 Landmine, ERW Casualties in 2023, Down 22 pct

A deminer searches for mines and unexploded ordnance at a minefield in Siem Reap province, Cambodia, Jan. 16, 2024. Photo by Liao Hongqing/Xinhua

PHNOM PENH -- Cambodia reported 32 landmine and explosive remnant of war (ERW) casualties in 2023, a 22 percent decline from 41 in 2022, according to an official report on Thursday.

"Four people were killed, 18 others were injured, and the 10 others were amputated in 2023," the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA)'s report said, adding that a total of 29 explosive ordnance accidents were recorded in 2023.

From 1979 to 2023, landmine and ERW explosions had claimed 19,822 lives and either injured or amputated 45,215 others, the report added.

Cambodia is one of the countries worst-affected by landmines and ERWs. An estimated 4 million to 6 million landmines and other munitions had been left over from three decades of war and internal conflicts that ended in 1998.

According to the Yale University, between 1965 and 1973, the United States had dropped some 230,516 bombs on 113,716 sites in the Southeast Asian country.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet in February called for greater support from the international community to achieve the kingdom's 2025 mine-free goal.

"We urge greater participation from the international community to raise awareness of the dangers of landmines and unexploded ordnance, the hidden killers that threaten human security even after armed conflicts have ended," he said in a message to mark the National Mine Awareness Day on Feb. 24.

CMAA First Vice President Ly Thuch said the kingdom currently needs to clear the remaining 533-square-km land contaminated with mines and another 1,321-square-km land contaminated with cluster munitions and other ERWs.

"Around 1 million people in the kingdom, particularly in rural areas, still live in fear and work in areas suspiciously contaminated by landmines, ERWs and cluster munitions," he told Xinhua recently.

Related Articles